To stick? Or twist?
Keeping faith with a misfiring hero for a game or two too long can prove to be crucial in the world of fantasy football. Some of us are still waiting for Sofiane Feghouli to come good.
Equally, seeing the guy you just transferred out rediscover his scoring touch is a gut-wrenching feeling fantasy players know all too well on a Saturday afternoon.
But after five Premier League games, maybe now is the time to make some big decisions in your squad and kick-start your faltering season.
Let’s take a look at some candidates for the chop…
Dropping Mohamed Salah? It’s almost unthinkable.
The Egyptian scored 32 Premier League goals last season and is currently* ‘owned’ by 45.5% of all Fantasy Premier League managers – second only to Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.
But, despite Liverpool winning the first six matches of a season for the first time since 1961-62, Salah has not looked at his sharpest. He has missed five ‘big chances’ (as defined by Opta) already this season and gave the ball away in the build-up to Paris St-Germain’s equaliser in midweek before being replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri.
Salah has not had a terrible start to the season – he’s scored twice in five league appearances and has not been short of attempts (see above) – but he could fail to score in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time as a Liverpool player this weekend.
He is the game’s most expensive player too – could you invest your funds more wisely?
Salah has 29 points so far. You could sell Salah, sign Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso and Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser – scorers of a combined 85 points to date – and still have change.
Southampton are the visitors on Saturday afternoon and if you do make the bold choice to say no to Mo, it’s worth bearing in mind that Salah has scored in 13 of his last 15 competitive starts at Anfield.
If you’ve got some Liverpool defenders it’s probably wise to keep them in – Southampton have failed to score in each of their last four Premier League matches against Liverpool and the last visiting player to score a Premier League goal at Anfield was Michail Antonio in West Ham’s 4-1 defeat back in February.
*at the time of writing on Thursday evening
Kane causing you pain?
Along with Salah the one man you absolutely needed in your team last season – well, for the last four seasons – has been Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
But again, it could be time to make a bold move and rest the England skipper.
Kane has scored twice in the league but has only had 12 shots on goal this season, fewer than Chelsea left-back Alonso. In Spurs’ opening five league matches of last season, Kane had 34 shots on goal.
Of course, a man who has bagged 110 Premier League goals in just 158 games is only ever a moment away from making a mockery of such statistics, but so far this season he’s had the same amount of efforts on target (four) as goal machines Luke Shaw and Michael Keane.
And Keane hasn’t played for a month since fracturing his skull against Bournemouth.
To cap it all off, Kane has scored once in four league appearances against this weekend’s opponents Brighton. Are you considering dropping him? Let us know below.
Who should come in?
If its goals you’re after up top, there’s one man out on his own after a hat-trick last weekend. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has five Premier League goals to his name and seems to be benefiting from a freer, more offensive role under new boss Maurizio Sarri.
“We have spoken and I told him he can score 40 goals,” Sarri said. “He has to improve some things, but he can do it.”
Forty may be a stretch – Hazard’s best figure to date is 19 – but the Belgian is currently averaging a goal every 61.5 minutes and also leads the league in dribbles completed (18).
Hazard has been directly involved in seven Premier League goals this campaign, at least two more than any other player. He has been directly involved in a goal in all five of Chelsea’s Premier League matches this season – an assist in each of the first two games, and then five goals in his last three appearances.
Chelsea head to West Ham on Sunday, where Sarri could become only the third manager to win his first six Premier League games in charge, after Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola. But, if Hazard isn’t the man you want, another player in London may have the answer.
Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has scored in seven of his last 10 Premier League appearances (totalling eight goals). Since the beginning of April, no player has netted more Premier League goals than the fit-again Zaha (Harry Kane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also have eight, despite us telling you that Kane was done earlier on).
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero will go ahead of Teddy Sheringham and become the 10th leading Premier League goalscorer with his next strike.
Can he make it 147 against Cardiff? Well, if you’re planning on drafting him in just bear in mind that Aguero has failed to score in each of his last seven Premier League away appearances, since he netted in a 4-0 win at Swansea on 13 December 2017. It was in Wales though…
Another (literal) left-wing pick may be Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez. Yes, he has only scored twice in the league since relocating Atom and Humber (his beloved dogs) to Cheshire but he has been directly involved in 19 goals in 22 Premier League appearances against promoted sides (15 goals, four assists). Jose Mourinho’s men face Wolves on Saturday.
Finally, Everton winger Richarlison returns from suspension against Arsenal. He has scored five goals in five appearances for club and country this season, but Everton haven’t won at Arsenal since 1996.
Everton could also have Yerry Mina back – and the Colombian centre-half may be a shrewd fantasy signing in time thanks to his eye for a goal – as Kieran Trippier and co will testify to.
The case for the (Leicester) defence
At the other end of the pitch, it could be time to fill up on Leicester defenders. The Foxes host Huddersfield at the weekend, with David Wagner’s side in the midst of a horrible run of form in front of goal.
The Terriers have won only one of their last 15 Premier League fixtures, and have remarkably scored only five goals in that time.
In contrast, Manchester City and Liverpool have scored 39 and 30 in that same timeframe.
Huddersfield have in fact failed to score in 55.8% of their total Premier League games (24/43), the highest such ratio for any team to have played in the competition.
Leicester have only managed one clean sheet so far this season but FPL managers may have their eyes on Ricardo Pereira (22 points) and Harry Maguire (16 points) as canny signings this week.
Cue a goal avalanche for the Town…